1967 Maserati Mexico Prototipo by Frua
Sold For $346,500Inclusive of applicable buyer's fee.
- The very first Maserati Mexico built
- One of three Mexico prototypes; the only example with unique Frua coachwork
- Formerly of the Frank Mandarano and Alfredo Brener collections
- Documented with factory delivery paperwork and Statement of Origin
- One of the most unique and significant Maserati road cars of its era
255 bhp, 4,136 cc DOHC V-8 engine with four Weber 38 DCNL5 carburetors, five-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension with coil springs, live rear axle with semi-cantilevered leaf spring suspension, and four-wheel hydraulic disc brakes. Wheelbase: 103.9 in.
For 1967, Maserati introduced a four-seat, two-door grand tourer dubbed the ‘Mexico’ to commemorate John Surtees’ victory in a Maserati V-12-powered Cooper T81 in the previous year’s Mexican Grand Prix. Designed around the versatile new 4.7-liter V-8, the car was based upon the chassis of the Quattroporte sedan, shortened by over four inches for better handling, quick response, and more balanced styling. The latter was created by sending the first three Mexico chassis to Frua, Bertone, and Vignale, eliciting a competition to see who could create the most thrilling and production-worthy design for the new model.
While the honor of bodying production Mexicos would go to Vignale, it was Frua who bodied the first Mexico chassis, number AM112 001, which also carried the first 4.7-liter engine built. That special, unique car, shown here, features such classic Frua touches as a sloping doorline with a “kick” in the rear fender, as used on the 5000 GT, and tall side windows, as well as headlamps set into chrome-accented recesses in the front fenders. More attractive and streamlined than the production Mexico, it boasted scintillating attitude.
Finished in Amaranto with a Neutro Connolly leather interior and Borrani chrome wire wheels, the unique Frua prototipo was delivered by the factory on 5 May 1967 to a Mr. Nello Della Casa of Modena. Interestingly, at some point it received a later 4.2-liter Mexico engine, which is correctly stamped, as was the original unit, AM112 001. It was subsequently exported to the United States through the well-known car designer and broker, Tom Meade, and sold to Kenny Wagner of Texas, in whose hands it remained until 1978. Subsequent owners included Larry Maese and, for many years, Frank Mandarano, the renowned Ferrari enthusiast and founder of Concorso Italiano.
Mr. Mandarano owned the Frua prototype from 1980 until 1999, when he was convinced to sell it to Alfredo Brener, then assembling a comprehensive collection of the most special coachbuilt Maseratis. During its Mandarano ownership, the car received a cosmetic restoration back to the original color scheme, then was mechanically restored in 1999, prior to its sale to Mr. Brener. More recently it was part of a large and prominent collection in the American Southwest.
A hand-built, one-off styling prototype, commissioned directly by Maserati, this attractive, streamlined Frua-bodied Mexico remains one of the most historically significant road-going cars to bear the Trident. It would be an important addition to any collection of Italian automobiles, as it remains truly one of a kind.